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Need Christmas gift ideas for your wife (mother, daughter, grandmother, girlfriend)? Struggling to shop for the woman who as everything?

Since having children my typical response to “What do you want for [Christmas, Mother’s Day, your birthday], has been “peace and harmony.” It was 100% truth, but never satisfied anyone who wanted to wrap up a tangible gift. Often women in midlife already have what they really need. They can be hard to shop for because they honestly can't think of anything to suggest.

Love Letters

My first choice forever is a sincere letter of appreciation. My husband does this for me regularly (along with oodles of gifts) and the letters are so dear to my heart. He never writes (or says) anything he doesn't mean and that makes it even better.

Just yesterday, one of my daughters told me—spontaneously, in the middle of an unrelated conversation—that she was so grateful for all I had done and that she had the best childhood she could have wished for. It was so unexpected and I burst into tears like a little baby. Anyone who's been a parent for very long knows the many (many!) days of difficulty and how often we feel like utter failures. To hear this from one of my adult children was an enormous blessing. I will never forget it. Ever.

Experiences

If you're looking for something less mushy, but still more service oriented, coupons or future dates are always welcome, such as a:

  • Massage
  • Movie date
  • Lunch out
  • Mani pedi
  • Park picnic

Odd Jobs

If you know the person's situation well enough—and are close enough to do something really personal—stepping in to take a big item off their to do list—or remove a constant irritant in their life—is one of the best gifts there is.

  • Do they wish the game closet was cleaned and organized?
  • Does the pantry door bang closed?
  • Is the washer handle broken?
  • Is the microwave light burned out?
  • Does the foyer paint need a touch up?
  • Do they need a week off of doing general house cleaning?
  • Do they need every stitch of laundry taken care of?
  • Does their car need a solid detailing?
  • Do they need a week of dinner prep in the freezer?

If you solve one of these problems—either yourself or by hiring it out—I can promise you that every time your loved one walks past the former trouble spot they will bless you for your thoughtfulness!

One year I made three months worth of freezer dinners for one of my daughters and her husband. They were both still in college and working and running a music studio and performing and…crazy busy. They told me repeatedly how helpful it was.

Online Courses

Is there something your wife or mother has has always wanted to learn to do, but has never had the time or money to follow the dream? Sign them up for an online course that they can take at their leisure and fit in between the time gaps. There are courses available on almost any topic you can imagine.

Some high quality general resources are Udemy, Lynda, The Great Courses, Masterclass, etc. There are also a gazillion specialty courses offered by field experts.

Gifts of Circumstance

For a number of years before her death, my mother sunk deeper and deeper into TIAA induced dementia. While she didn't know it was her birthday or Mother's Day, I did, and I love her and always wanted to honor her. Finding something to send—when I lived across the country from her most of those years—was a challenge. How many slippers does one woman need?

One year, almost in desperation, I had a beautiful bouquet of flowers delivered to the house. So cliché. Fortunately, I flew in for a visit a few days later and discovered something amazing.

Because of her dementia, she forgot that the flowers had been delivered. Every single time she came downstairs she saw the flowers and exclaimed, “Oh, look at the beautiful flowers! Who are those for?” Then she would walk over and look at the tag and exclaim, again, “Oh, they are for me! How lovely!”

I sent my sweet mom flowers for every holiday after that. Because of the circumstances, they really were a gift that brought her joy over and over again.

Charitable Giving

None of those fit the bill? How about donating to her favorite charity in her name? My all-time favorite charity is Operation Underground Railroad, that works to rescue children from sex trafficking. I personally know some of the people who work in this organization and have volunteered and donated personally. I cannot say enough about the amazing, critical work they do.

Share Your Favorites!

Of course, every woman is different, and you have to know something about the tastes and interests of the recipient. But there really are ways to delight and surprise the hard-to-shop for midlife woman in your life!

What was the best gift you ever got? Share in the comments for inspriation!